Interview with the Common DJ: DJ LeGoom

On this week’s episode of Space Time Music I pour a cup and hop on a Zoom call with DJ LeGoom of New Jersey and get a Gen Z perspective on 20th and 21st century pop culture, audio formats and music.

DJ LeGoom is one of the coolest teenagers you will ever meet and yes, she is my niece so I am not completely objective but I’m pretty sure I’m right. I’ve been doing a series of episodes on my podcast where I interview my friends and get to know them a little bit better through their love of music and my niece was keen to get in on the action and I was excited to hear what the kids are listening to these days.

Just to be clear, only one of the people I’ve interviewed so far has ever been an actual DJ, my husband DJ Habit. Everyone else is just like you and me (unless you’re a DJ), regular folk who love listening to music. I ask each guest to create a DJ name for themselves as I think it helps get one in the mindset of being a music curator. Are we not the DJs of the soundtracks of our lives?

My niece’s DJ name is DJ LeGoom. She explains that it’s a stylized version of a part of her baby nickname, Bean. I think it’s cute and clever, much like my niece.

I then ask my guests a few simple questions to get the music memory juices flowing and their answers create what I like to call their music profile, the auditory lens, if you will, through which they hear all other music.

Boy, oh boy, was I not ready for the wave of nostalgia that smacked me in the face when I read her answers. (I have guests send me their answers ahead of time so that I can do a little research and prepare the music.) Memories of her tiny toddler self, sitting in the back seat of her mom’s car singing along to her favorite tunes, little legs dangling over the edge of her car seat as she sped down the New Jersey Turnpike and crossed the Arizano Bridge (she couldn’t say Verrazano back then) to come visit her aunt in Brooklyn (that was me). Tears.

Now she’s a teenager listening to K-Pop and bossa nova but I don’t want to spoil the episode for you. You’ll have to listen for yourself. You can find the interview questions in the show notes of any one of the “DJ” episodes. And if you just want to hang out, listen to some tunes and covers, follow a sample chain or two, check out some of the other episodes.

Prince Rogers Nelson

Violets in St. Paul's Church Cemetery, Mount Vernon, NY, April 22, 2016. Photo by Lydia Holt.
Violets in St. Paul’s Church Cemetery, Mount Vernon, NY, April 22, 2016. Photo by Lydia Holt.

It has been 11 days since Prince Rogers Nelson (June 7, 1958 – April 21, 2016) left this world for one of never ending happiness where he can always see the sun, day or night. I was shocked by how his leaving put a hole in my chest. It felt so personal as if I had lost my beloved, whacky uncle. The uncle that just the other day had called me while I was in the middle of picking up the kids from school to play me a clip of his latest song then yelled, “Can you make it funkier than this?!” and hung up. Needless to say I have spent these days listening to his music over and over and marveling at his genius.

I follow Jay Smooth on Facebook. He posted a video of Bruce Springsteen opening his concert at the Barclay’s Center by singing “Purple Rain” in honor of Prince. It was poignant and heartfelt but all I could think while watching it was, damn, Prince does it so much better! to which Jay responded in the comments, as if he knew what we were all thinking, “To think that from now on we will only ever see other people perform this…..” He was stating the obvious but it shook me to my core and brought out my inner Florida Evans – DAMN, DAMN, DAMN! I am so thankful and grateful to have seen him perform his music live, to see him dance, strut and spin across the stage while flawlessly playing any instrument he happened to pick up along the way. He was a phenomenal human being.

Prince. Photo from PRINCEINSTAGRAM
Prince. Photo from PRINCEINSTAGRAM

The day after Prince passed, I chaperoned a field trip up to St. Paul’s Church National Historic Site in Mount Vernon with my oldest son’s fourth grade class. It’s quite the schlep from Brooklyn so we took a school bus. On the way back the kids were tired and mostly quiet. I sat next to my ten-year-old boy scrolling through Facebook and Instagram looking at photos, videos, remembrances of the Purple One and sharing them with him. He knows that I love Prince and has heard me play his music but he is also blissfully unaware of anything that is not dinosaur or video game related. Both my husband and I are music lovers. My oldest knows what good music is, likes it well enough and can even play a little “Purple Haze” on the guitar but you won’t catch him listening to it on repeat for hours on end. I hoped that by showing him how people all over the world were paying tribute to Prince that he could get a small glimpse of what he meant to me and what he meant to music. As we sat quietly, bouncing along the BQE, in a way that only the completely innocent can, he asked, “Did Prince play the guitar?” I paused. If anyone else had asked the question I would have thought them an idiot but as I said before, my sweet boy lives in his own world. “Yes. He played the motherfuckin'(said that part in my head) guitar.”

I wrote the following for The Pickaninny Papers five years ago on his birthday and it expresses what I will always love about what Prince brought to the world. Rest in peace my dear Prince.

Prince Rogers Nelson

Very few people have the courage to be who they were meant to be, connecting to the universal being (you may call it God), maxing out their potential and shining a light so bright it can be hard to look at them, although it is equally difficult to look away. These people truly are stars. The word is thrown around so easily these days to describe merely famous people but on June 7, 1958 a true star was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota. His name is Prince Rogers Nelson. I’m not sure how he walks the earth without exploding, his creative genius is so powerful. In truth, I find my grasp of human language inadequate to describe Prince’s impact on the world. He is being who he was born to be and it is a beautiful thing to behold. Happy birthday Prince!